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  • Michaela Patel


Recently, I have noticed a number of bitter comments popping up on various self-help sites. Usually posted by people who have experienced a shocking insight into their partner’s true character. These guys were either extremely angry or greatly saddened. Their disappointment with those for whom they had given up everything was expressed by a typical sentence: ‘This self-love trend is just a cover up for selfish behaviour.’ How can you distinguish self-love from unkindness?

What do people who complain 'I have ended up with nothing after giving them everything' have in common besides their deep distrust in others? ‘I have given him my heart and soul. I have trusted her with my life. All women/men are the same...'

In my article Priceless Relationship Lessons, I discussed in more depth why we experience similar relational issues. In short, we enter into relationships with these particular characters (yes it’s not by chance or due to bad luck!) to learn about ourselves. We learn hell of a lot about who we are and what we want by experiencing who we aren’t and what we don’t want. We also learn about why we were attracted to these types who have always had something in common with our parents. Funny eh? (Thinking emoji). And the shock and horror doesn't end there as we realise that our generosity was really a cover up for our deep sense of lacking - our insecurity and low self-worth.

Furthermore, we learn that we don’t actully know how to give without expectations because no one could teach us unconditional love - the endless source of happiness - which is why we are perpetually seeking new partners with whom we practice ‘love businesses’. Conditional love, or how I call it 'the love of receiving back', is everywhere on display in our reward geared society. The message is clear: ‘You cannot get this unless you work for it. Hard!’ Which is why there are many confused people looking for love in others (before truly owning it!). Perhaps this is where it gets confusing for the mind: although our love must be owned by ourselves to be then freely given to others, true love isn’t a commodity. It cannot be owed or hoarded. Similar to respect you either believe that you deserve it and act accordingly, or you don't. Self-love is a deep understanding that what you do to others will come back to bite you in the form of a disappointment in your Self and subsequent (subconscious) self-loathing. Because your authentic core (your Soul) always knows the truth even if your Ego tries to cover it up with bullshit.

Every single person walking this Earth has lied to themselves. Some more, some less. The mind makes excuses for us all the time. Reading this, do you feel uneasy about the idea? Have you instantly dismissed it? Our honest answer (if we dare) points to our inability to allow the truth to exist...

The difference between self-ish and self-loving person is in the amount of bullshit they accept from themselves. Every time we lie, our core knows it. For a split second (or longer) we feel the inner unrest of going against it, and ourselves. For every single choice we make to go against our authentic Self the little voice of truth chimes ‘you know that’s not true' or 'that’s not what you really meant, you are being unfair’. This voice gets louder and louder but we get better and better at pushing it away. We ignore it, pretending we cannot hear it. One lie leads to one bad decision, which then leads to two more lies and so on. We become so good at being inauthentic with ourselves that fooling others is a piece of cake...

Treating our constant inner tension, what used to be a celebration drink turns into a daily ritual because we simply cannot relax being sober. So afraid of being quiet, alone with that voice, we need noise. Lots of it! We get busy and better at achieving, ticking off the list of 'must haves'. We have a lovely partner (and later a healthy family and a good job, nice house, car, etc.) but we aren’t exactly content because we, after all, cheated ourselves all this time. We disregarded our honest feelings about some of our early experiences by those who were meant to love us without expectations. In a nutshell, we have allowed others (and later ourselves) to strip us of dignity by doing things in the name of love. By disrespecting our true feelings on the matter (because we were taught to invalidate and distrust them) we disrespected our authentic Self and as adults we continue to honour our lies. Getting better at making excuses for ourselves, deflecting the truth, we gain much skill to excuse the dos and don’ts of others, missing the red flags galore. Which is why we end up disappointed in others and why we blame so well.

To choose self-love is to choose authenticity and accountability. When we realise that our many flaws mainly due to our unawareness about the many aspects of ourselves have led us to wherever we find ourselves, we stop moaning and get working. Not on smearing others but by cleaning up our own act. Throughout this process of understanding who we were being, we learn who we no longer wish to be, reclaiming back our power and self-respect. The day comes when we can look at ourselves in the mirror and say 'I love you you know? You deserve all the love there is in the world. I am always here for you, I promise to keep you safe.' It is the day that your inner core gained a certain amounth of strength to stand up to any bully, knowing the same way you tackled your own bullshit you will deal with that of others. The choices you make are no longer scrutinised by others just yourself. With confidence, you trust you to be there for yourself when you are down, because those times will always come. That is what it takes to own love, to own You and love you with all you've got. When you practice self-love you practice being honest with yourself. And when you do that, it will be out of question for you to deceive others because your 'inner bullshit meter' will make you feel crap, fearful about being caught, and unsure about its consequences. Facing the music becomes far less scary than losing your serenity. Living from a place of quiet contemplation, others have no choice but to compete with it. If they bring lies and toxicity, they will very quickly lose you.

Will you demand apologies, for them to explain themselves, or desire them to return into a relationship with you?

What clearly separates a self-loving person from a selfish one is how they handle solitude and how they treat you post separation. A truly self-loving person remains respectful towards you and is unafraid to return into a safe harbour of their respectful relationship with themselves - a relationship full of loving support, unconditional acceptance, and honest regard...

Thank you for reading. If my article contributed to understanding yourself, please be generous and share it with others.

Copyright © 2021 Michaela Patel


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